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Importers, in particular those in the food industry that require inspections or surveillance, have been experiencing significant delays with biosecurity inspections by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF). Victoria and New South Wales are the states mostly impacted by the high volumes of DAFF inspection requests and services.
These delays are further adding to importers’ already existing high costs such as freight rates, surcharges, terminal access charges and container detention fees.
The main causes identified by DAFF are the high volumes of incoming cargo due to the reopening of borders, the recruitment and retention of biosecurity staff (similar to most industries) and the minimal benefits derived from the Biosecurity Portal and virtual visual label inspections for eligible imported surveillance food.
Until these issues are reformed or resolved, extensive delays can be expected for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, the department has continued to manage the escalating threat of some animal diseases that may move closer to Australia, as well as respond to post border biosecurity detections that have required redirection of significant resources to investigate and manage them.
How DAFF is working to resolve this
As well as diverting resources from other areas to assist with surge capacity, DAFF is deploying new recruits where possible.
Weekend and after normal business hours inspections of cargo are being offered, with priority given to highly perishable airfreight and live animal imports.
Work on new technologies and IT systems continues in order to eventually deliver complete automation in bookings and assessment systems, which should result in efficiencies and cost savings to the industry.
How you can help
For further details, please see:
Freight & Trade Alliance Notice:
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Notice Industry Advice Notice:
58-2022: Impacts to Service Standards in Victoria and New South Wales – DAFF (agriculture.gov.au)
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